Pedosphere 28(2): 288--298, 2018
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2018 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Effect of Long-Term Soil Management on the Mutual Interaction Among Soil Organic Matter, Microbial Activity and Aggregate Stability in a Vineyard
Sergio A. BELMONTE1, Luisella CELI1, Ruby J. STAHEL2, Eleonora BONIFACIO1, Vittorino NOVELLO1, Ermanno ZANINI1, Kerri L. STEENWERTH2
1Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Turin University, Grugliasco 10095 (Italy)
2USDA-ARS, Crops Pathology and Genetics Research Unit, Davis 95616 (USA)
Corresponding Author:Sergio A. BELMONTE
      Vineyard management practices to enhance soil conservation principally focus on increasing carbon (C) input, whereas mitigating impacts of disturbance through reduced tillage has been rarely considered. Furthermore, information is lacking on the effects of soil management practices adopted in the under-vine zone on soil conservation. In this work, we evaluated the long-term effects (22 years) of alley with a sown cover crop and no-tillage (S + NT), alley with a sown cover crop and tillage (S + T), and under-vine zone with no vegetation and tillage (UV) on soil organic matter (SOM), microbial activity, aggregate stability, and their mutual interactions in a California vineyard in USA. Vegetation biomass, microbial biomass and activity, organic C and nitrogen (N) pools, and SOM size fractionation and aggregate stability were analysed. Soil characteristics only partially reflected the differences in vegetation biomass input. Organic C and N pools and microbial biomass/activity in S + NT were higher than those in S + T, while the values in UV were intermediate between the other two treatments. Furthermore, S + NT also exhibited higher particulate organic matter C in soil. No differences were found in POM C between S + T and UV, but the POM fraction in S + T was characterized by fresher material. Aggregate stability was decreased in the order:S + NT > UV > S + T. Tillage, even if shallow and performed infrequently, had a negative effect on organic C and N pools and aggregate stability. Consequently, the combination of a sown cover crop and reduced tillage still limited SOM accumulation and reduced aggregate stability in the surface soil layer of vineyards, suggesting relatively lower resistance of soils to erosion compared to no-till systems.
Key Words:  loamy Ultisol,microbial biomass,permanent grass,soil organic matter fractionation,soil respiration,tillage,vegetation biomass
Citation: Belmonte S A, Celi L, Stahel R J, Bonifacio E, Novello V, Zanini E, Steenwerth K L. 2018. Effect of long-term soil management on the mutual interaction among soil organic matter, microbial activity and aggregate stability in a vineyard. Pedosphere. 28(2):288-298.
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